Road Tested: 3D Printed Cycling Gloves From Elastic Interface
From one of the world’s most popular and prolific pad makers come these 3D printed gloves.
Elastic Interface are firmly established as a leading chamois manufacturer, in fact if you have more than a couple of pairs of knicks in the drawer it's likely they made the pad in one or more of them.
During 2019 the company started branching into other areas of the cycling comfort market with word of a 3D printed glove being one of the hot rumours from Europe.
Bicycling Australia tried on and had a close up look at the gloves at the world's biggest bike show, Eurobike. We were impressed with the comfort of the new product, and particularly how they adapted to the shape of the hand. The degree of padding, despite the low profile and light overall weight, and intricate laser cut ventilation holes were also impressive and noteworthy factors.
We've recently received some of the first production models of these 3D printed gloves, black and grey mitts in size Large from Italian cycling accessory company Q36.5.
First things first, these are a premium glove priced at the high end of the market. They are listed on the Q36.5 website at around $AU100 (depending on exchange rate), a considerable investment for mere mitts.
The upside is the incredible comfort you'll feel when pulling on these gloves, gripping your bars and then right through the ride.
3D printing delivers a number of standout advantages, a lack of seams being one of them. The gloves are very light in weight and stretch smoothly over the shape of the hand when put on.
That Custom Fit Feel
The test pair offered the feeling of being custom moulded or made to size, despite the fact they were simply an off-the shelf pair in size Large (and true to size, as usually worn by the tester).
The inner and outer materials feel soft, this adding to overall comfort, while the outer appears to be hard wearing. Gloves are a high-wear accessory, mid to long term findings will be updated via the Bicycling Australia website.
...Those advantages do come at a cost, but they are super-impressive and phenomenally comfortable gloves...
Alessandro Piccoli, Head Engineer at Elastic Interface, said designers considered how they could incorporate twenty years of chamois experience and apply it to the hand-bike interface.
"We adapted our pad technology to the palm of the hand so that cyclists can now also find that level of comfort normally associated with our products in their favourite brands’ gloves," he said.
Analysing the parameters of the hand was essential to deciding the palm’s design, explained Denis Bertoldo, head of R&D.
“The comfort comes from the fact they are primarily designed to protect the rider." he said.
"With protection comes comfort and this benefits performance: if a product performs well, the rider forgets it’s even there. The same applies to our pads, which are prized the world over for their quality.
“Once we’d confirmed the design, we chose materials that enabled us to develop a product which would be breathable with padding featuring a high capacity of elastic recovery. And the grip fabrics ensure the rider has a firm grip on the bars.”
After two weeks of testing we thoroughly agree. The gloves have proven to be comfortable, durable, breathable. Most importantly they offer secure grip and overall are additive to a great day on the bike.
Those advantages do come at a cost, but they are super-impressive and phenomenally comfortable gloves.